Chicken and Potatoes Dauphinoise
I am a fan of Jamie Oliver’s. There’s a chef who not only brought great British cooking back into the limelight, but who has demonstrated his personal commitment to bringing real food to as many as he can, including those who have a real hard time affording fresh food. His recipes are not only simple, but delicious, and make use of things you can easily get. Little wonder he has such a good new working relationship with Safeway and Sobey’s in our country. Today’s recipe is a slight modification of one you can find both on his TV program “Jamie’s 30-minute Meals” and also on his website, at http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/chicken-recipes/mustard-chicken-quick-dauphinoise-greens-black-forest-affogato/#tBhkQzwHoqJruKBd.97 . He also has a way of making a home cook brave enough to go ahead and try it at home – even to go so far as to modify it a bit. Best part – it’s Chicken and Potatoes Dauphinoise – a jazzed up, decidedly restaurant-quality take on the best blend of grainy mustard and white wine and what they do to chicken, and good old scalloped potatoes taken up a notch, and made in way, WAY under four hours like they’d normally take. Serve chicken and potatoes dauphinoise with anything green, and you have a winner of a meal. Don’t let the steps scare you – this one really can be done in about 45 minutes.
For the potatoes dauphinoise:
- 1 small red onion
- 6-7 medium sized potatoes – any kind will work, but yellow ones probably hold together the best
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 cup half-and-half cream
- 2 tbsp nuoc mam fish sauce (you could use anchovies like Jamie does. I didn’t have any, and what you want here is that great umami flavor you get from things like fermented or preserved fish, soy sauce, and parmesan. Trust me, the fish sauce WORKS in this dish).
- ½ cup shaved or grated Parmesan cheese (there’s more of that umami)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tbsp dried basil, or 10 leaves fresh, finely chopped
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Olive oil
For the chicken:
- 1-2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped fine
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (thighs would work too, but also boneless)
- 6 teaspoons mustard powder (don’t use prepared mustard, it has too much turmeric in it)
- 1 large fresh leek
- 1 cup of white wine
- ¾ cup half-and-half cream
- 2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
- 4 cloves of garlic
- Whatever green vegetable you’d like, to go on the side. I used boiled broccoli.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit
- Get some water boiling in a kettle
- Peel the potatoes. Some like to leave the peels on, but in scalloped potatoes, the skin can make annoying rings that get stuck between teeth, etc.
- With a food processor, or if you don’t have one, a mandolin or sharp knife, slice the potatoes into slices about 2 mm thick.
- Peel, halve, and slice the onion the same way.
- Put both the potatoes and the onions in a stove top-safe lasagne-like pan. I used an ancient aluminum one – the kind that you often find in the drawer of your oven. Anything that can stand the direct heat of the stove burner is fine.
- Crush the garlic and spread it out over the potato mixture.
- Mix the fish sauce into the half-and half-cream, and pour over the potato mixture making sure you get some all over.
- Season with salt, pepper, and basil leaves, add the bay leaves, and a couple slugs of olive oil.
- Add the Parmesan cheese, and with your hands, mix everything in the pan together well.
- Put the pan on a large burner on the stove top over medium heat.
- Add about a cup of boiling water, and seal the pan with tin foil. Leave it on the heat to boil for about 15 minutes or so.
- Keep an eye on it, and shake the pan around every few minutes, so that nothing sticks to the bottom.
- Meanwhile, turn up the heat under a frying pan to medium. Add olive oil to the pan to heat up.
- Sprinkle the chopped rosemary on the chicken breasts.
- Add a teaspoon of mustard powder to each piece, and olive oil, and rub that mixture well into the chicken. (Wash your hands…)
- Put the chicken into the pan to fry. It should take about 8-9 minutes per side. Don’t let them burn.
- Set your green vegetables to boil on the stove. Unless you’re having a salad. Get it ready.
- Take the foil off the potatoes. Grate in another layer of Parmesan.
- Put the pan in the oven and leave it to cook for about 15 minutes, or until it’s nice and golden brown.
- As the first side of the chicken breasts get done, trim the leeks – take most of the tough dark green top part off, wash them, then slice them lengthwise, and slice again across the grain into thin strands.
- Turn the chicken breasts over, and add the leeks into the pan – making sure they’re on the bottom, frying – not on top of the chicken.
- Crush four cloves of garlic into the chicken pan. Stir the leeks and garlic, and add the white wine.
- Let it cook until the second side is done.
- Check to see if the chicken is cooked, then add the half-and-half cream. Stir, cover with foil, and turn down the heat to a simmer.
- Check on the potatoes. Just before they’re done, take the chicken breasts out of the pan, and cut them into bite-sized pieces.
- Stir the whole-grain mustard into the sauce, add salt and pepper if needed – to taste – and then put the chicken pieces back into the pan. They’re ready to serve.
- Take the potatoes out of the oven. They’re also ready to serve. Add your vegetables, and dish up.
I betcha this would go really well with a nice apple cider, too…